The Walpole Rebels and Natick Blue and Red squared-off in an important Bay State League game on Thursday, May 13 at Elderacher field. The Rebels were looking for revenge after they lost to Natick 7-5 by a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth in their last game. Anchored by the superior pitching of senior Tim Connors, the Rebel’s thirst for vengeance was quenched.
During the first meeting between the two teams, the last hit, the three run homer, was the hardest hit ball of the game [CHOPPY]. In the most recent meeting on May 13 the hardest hit ball of the game came from Natick’s lead-off hitter Brett Flutie. With a 1-0 count Flutie hit a triple deep in left-center. Flutie then scored on a sacrifice fly to left to give Natick an early 1-0 lead. “The triple by Flutie was on a second pitch fastball. After the bomb, I started throwing quality pitches and let the defense play behind me,” said Connors.
The Rebels did not wait long to get the lead back; however, they did not hit the ball as hard as Natick. The Natick pitcher led off the game with a walk on four pitches to sophomore Craig Hanley and proceeded to walk the next three batters to score the first Rebel run. The Rebels scored two more runs on fielder’s choices before the Blue and Red were able to stop the bleeding. Hence – by the end of the first inning the Rebels went ahead 3-1 without even recording a hit.
After the first inning both pitchers settled down and the game quickly became a pitchers duel. Connors kept the Blue and Red guessing by mixing his fastball slider and curveball effectively. Connors got into a jam in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and no outs, but was able to pitch his way out of it. Shortstop Matt Lavanchy recorded an out by throwing a runner out at first, but Natick scored their second run on the play to make the game 3-2. Connors struck out the next batter and forced another to pop-out to third base to stop Natick’s last chance of a late inning rally.
Connors finished the ninth inning with relative ease. After a single by the first batter, Connors buckled down and recorded a ground-ball out and two strikeouts to secure the victory. When asked about the game Connors said, “Our catcher Dan King and I were on the same page the whole game and the offense was able to get enough run support to get the victory.”
The win against Natick was Connors third win of the year and boosted the Rebels record to 7-7 and was a moral booster sending the Rebels into the final six games of the season. Now they need three wins out of their final six games in order to advance to the playoffs.